In what has turned out to be an annual second week of the season meeting, both the Caesar Rodney and Dover boys and girls basketball teams squared off on the hardwood last week.

While the rivalry may have seemed one sided in the past, the Riders showed why things might be changing after sweeping the Senators in both matchups. And, the Riders did so in impressive fashion; the boys defeated the Senators 69-60, while the Lady Riders took down Dover 63-43.

The Rider boys were led by four double-figure scorers, Collin Moore finished with team-high 16 points, Zach Kent scored 13, James Palmer had 12, and Alex Kemp contributed 11 in the victory.

While the final score may indicate a close contest between the Henlopen Conference rivals, that was not the case for most of the game.

After a high-energy first quarter, the Riders offense began to take control of the game in the second quarter doubling-up the Senators to take a 38-24 lead into the break. After increasing their lead by five in the third, Dover was able to make one last run in the final stanza.  

Sophomore Jordan Allen did his best to keep Dover in the game, finishing with a game-high 18 points, and helping lead the way to a 20-point fourth quarter. However, the Senators late-game run was too little too late and the Rider boys hung on for the nine-point win to improve to 2-0 on the season after defeating Smyrna in their opener.

The victory not only improved the Riders to 2-0 under new/old head coach Freeman Williams, who is back on the sidelines after several seasons away, but both victories were against Henlopen Conference opponents.

While a 2-0 start is just where the Riders wanted to be, it’s clear Williams and the rest of his CR squad are focusing on one game at a time.

“This season, we’re focusing on establishing the key aspects of Rider basketball,” said Williams. “We want our student athletes to excel on and off the court with the focus on competing and getting better each and every time we step on the floor.”

The boys will try to make it a 3-0 start when they travel to Milford on Tuesday in a game played after our press time. CR finishes off their week with a match up at Caravel on Thursday night before taking off for the holiday break.

The Lady Riders entered Friday night’s contest against Dover coming off a tough nine-point loss to Smyrna; the same Smyrna team that dispatched them from the state tournament last season. So, they looked to take out their frustrations on a Senators team that had scored just 44 points over their first two contests.

Though, despite their low offensive out-put the Senators were feeling good after a slim 32-29 victory over Sussex Tech the day before.

The Riders wasted little time in eliminating any good feelings the Senators had from their previous victory, attacking Dover from the tip-off Friday night. Led by Lexi Prillaman, who finished with a game-high 21 points, the Riders dropped 36 first-half points on the Senators to take a 12 point lead into half time.

In the second half, the Rider offense kept cooking but it was their defense that helped seal the deal. CR allowed just seven third-quarter points to the Senators building a 24-point advantage they would not relinquish.

Like the boys, the girls benefited from some balanced scoring. Along with Prillaman’s 21-point effort, Cephas posted 12 points; Victory added 10 while Haith finished with eight points in the victory.

Now 1-1, the Lady Riders will take on Henlopen Conference foe Milford (2-0) after our press time. Thursday, CR will host Caravel Academy before participating in the Diamond State Classic at St. Elizabeth High School this weekend. They’re scheduled to take on Harriton High School from Pennsylvania in the first round Friday at 11:45 a.m.

While it’s awfully early to start making assumptions about just where both of these CR teams stack up with some of the state’s elite, both are off to strong starts. However, one thing is for sure; the balance of power in the Rider/Senator rivalry on the hardwood may be leaning toward Caesar Rodney.

Luckily for high school basketball fans, the teams will meet again in early February where state tournament berths may be up for grabs.